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A dozen things I'll miss about this job

Some wrap-up thoughts following a miserable sweep by the Marlins.

Manny Acta - Every day is a good day for the Nationals manager. That, of course, makes the life of a beat writer better. This is a job in which you root for yourself - for a good story, a good quote, and for people that don't make your life more difficult. Acta never makes things more difficult.

"The Main Event" - What does it say about the Nationals that each home game, in the middle of the fourth inning, that the PA guy comes on and booms, "And now, it's time for the maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain event!" You mean, the baseball game people are paying hundreds of dollars to see? Uh, no. That'd be the 10-foot tall presidents race. Perhaps in a few years, baseball might be the main event. Crazier things have happened, I suppose.

Panera - You want breaking news? I prefer Cosi. But no sandwich shop/chain restaurant/quasi-deli/free wifi spot has ever challenged me as did this place. The date: Spring '05. The address: The Avenue at Viera. The quest: Eat at the same place for lunch every day. The reality: As it was virtually the only place to eat at the time in that hellhole town, it wasn't much of a challenge at all. Related content: Chez Post (shared apartment with Boz).

Jim Bowden - Before you say, "You're kidding, right?", I'll cut you off and tell you to forget about the never-ending argument about whether the guy is a good GM or not. Bowden broke me in as a baseball beat writer, and when you catch him on the right day, he's full of analysis and insight. Plus, there is only one GM in baseball who would utter the following quote: "We pray for his buttocks and his family." Beat writers live for that stuff.

Johnson, Kearns, Zim and Boone - This is the row of lockers where I find myself gravitating pregame. The talk: baseball, college hoops, baseball, college football, politics, baseball and baseball. You want to get a feel for the rhythm of a season? Find a corner or the clubhouse and listen to the chatter.

The Plan - Scouting, player development, patience, yada yada yada. Sometimes I feel like there's been more written about the Nationals' plan than the Marshall Plan.

Craig Heist, WTOP - You haven't lived until you're on deadline, frantically hacking at your keyboard, and the Round Mound of Sound booms, "Three, two, one ..." as he begins delivering his mile-a-minute report. Only thing better: When Heist's cell phone - ring: "Monday Night Football" theme - rings in the clubhouse.

Organizational box scores - Coffee. Newspaper. Box scores from the minor-league affiliates. Is there a better way to start your day?

Zim at third - There are legitimate questions about what this guy is long-term. A franchise player? A nice piece? But there aren't any questions about his glove. I've found that the more you see the same things in baseball, the more you recognize the flaws. (Ask me about Lastings Milledge's defense.) With Zim's defense, it's the opposite. I'd like to find a way to figure out how many above-average plays the guy makes over the course of a season, the kind we take for granted because he makes them almost every time but that aren't even marked with an asterisk in my scorebook. My guess is it's one every three or four games, or maybe 50 a year. That's a lot. A Gold Glove is on the way at some point - soon.

Nationals Park scoreboard: Yeah, yeah, I know it's HD and all that, and it's completely mesmerizing. But a sample from just the weekend. On Friday, it said, "Luis Gonzalez was high school teammates with Tino Martinez, now with the Yankees." That was last true in 2005. It also blared "Lets Go Nats! Lets Go Nats!" Apostrophes optional, I suppose. And this afternoon, when the Marlins scored three in the eighth, the line score read: 0100013. That, by my count, is

Randy St. Claire - Something else you appreciate as a reporter: When an expert in a field is able to break down their area of expertise so that dopes like us - and therefore, the readers to which the dopes report - can understand it. St. Claire is outstanding at breaking down what his pitchers are doing well and what they're doing poorly. Always an honest assessment, always showing how hard he has worked to figure this stuff out, with no BS in between.

The Journal - What else is left to say? You people are the best. Keep this community growing from here on out.

Other memories: Livo's first pitch, Zim's walk-off vs. Wang, RFK's stench, Tavares's rants, Frank, John Halama, Sori in left, Rick Short, Chief in '05, RFK grounds crew, Joey Eischen, Kasten's rants, 50-31, 31-50, 40-40, Mike Scioscia: "Piece of garbage", Mel Proctor, Jupiter (the town, not the planet), Phillies game start after 11 p.m., Shawn Hill's sinker, Mike "756" Bacsik, Zim's walk-off vs. Moylan, Curly W pretzels and, of course, Clint.

Thank you folks. Take care of Chico (the writer, not the pitcher), and stay in touch.

By Barry Svrluga  |  May 11, 2008; 3:44 PM ET
 
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Next: An introduction

Comments

Godspeed, Barry. You will be missed.

Posted by: just a lurker | May 11, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

aarrgh...i got newposted

Manny needs to seriously rethink his strategy where it comes to the use of his bullpen. Stop being an automaton when starters get to the seventh inning thinking you HAVE to pull him and go to the bullpen. Don't adhere to pitch counts, trust what you SEE. Manny goes to the bullpen so often that some of these guys will be burned out by Memorial Day.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 11, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Barry

Sorry we couldn't have you leave on a high note. You're a class act, too good to have to cover the Snydermen.

Posted by: leetee1955 | May 11, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Carrying forward from a few posts ago:

Thanks, Barry, for the stories, the chats, the book, the journal, and a whole lot more.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Barry -

I was borderline interested in the Nats until I stumbled on your post one day. Your insight, reporting and writing style brought me back to the game. Guys like you are the new breed of reporters - print edition, Web edition, chats, posts, WaPo TV. Nobody does it better then you or makes it more interesting and fun. Hey, it's a game, isn't it??
Look forward to your work with the much-over-reported-upon Redskins and to following Chico's (the reporter, not the pitcher) work with the Nats. Good luck.

Posted by: Vandy | May 11, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Carrying forward from a few posts ago:

Thanks, Barry, for the stories, the chats, the book, the journal, and a whole lot more.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

D'oh!

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry. I have enjoyed it all and appreciated your great work--in the paper, the book, and especially here at the Journal. While I'm not a Skins fan, I look forward to checking out your work from time to time. Best of luck!

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | May 11, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for everything Barry. The journal will not be the same without you. I look forward to reading what you've got about the skins. Make sure you keep up the snark and keep holding management accountable for what they say. I look forward to seeing what Chico (writer not pitcher) has to offer, if he's half as good as you say he is then i'm sure we'll be just fine. Good luck and dont forget that you can still post on the comments section.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 11, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for everything Barry. The journal will not be the same without you. I look forward to reading what you've got about the skins. Make sure you keep up the snark and keep holding management accountable for what they say. I look forward to seeing what Chico (writer not pitcher) has to offer, if he's half as good as you say he is then i'm sure we'll be just fine. Good luck and dont forget that you can still post on the comments section.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | May 11, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Barry: Can't say enough about the great job you've done. Thanks so much--Chico's got an extremely tough act to follow.

Posted by: Mark | May 11, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I know that the whole entire baseball media will miss you.

Anyone up to doing a dozen things we will miss about Barry?

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | May 11, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Say it ain't so.

Posted by: Svrlugamania (looking for a new name) | May 11, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Before you melt away into the cornfield, just wanted to say thanks, Barry, for your terrific writing on the Nats. Your coverage -- journal, gamers, and notebooks -- drew me into following the team on a daily basis, more for the story angles than for the actual games themselves.

Posted by: J. Doe | May 11, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I said it earlier but it can't be said enough. Thanks again for everything, Barry. Reading your gamers and features and blog posts and listening to your webcasts, it's been a blast. Given your ringing endorsement, I'm sure Young Master Chico will do very well filling your shoes.

Posted by: Juan-John | May 11, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Barry, you were great, but you would have been better if you took more of SOCH's advice. The man's a genius.

Posted by: fish fry | May 11, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Barry, you are the best. I am sure I have read every word you have written, posted and authored over the last 4 years and have enjoyed them all. I don't know any words to pay you a higher compliment.

I have a feeling you will miss the Nats more than you will ever imagine. Let us know how much you enjoy "instant" replay in the NFL!

Posted by: Dick | May 11, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Since we're picking on the scoreboard operator, someone should tell Chico (the writer, not the pitcher) when to use commas, that a sentence must have a subject and a verb, and that misplaced modifiers are a problem.

Here are a few of the grammatical errors in Chico's first day on the job:

"The Washington Nationals, in their five-man pitching rotation, have four sub-4.00 ERAs and one reliably sub-par interruption." (There should be no commas in this sentence.)

"'The other day in Houston,' Morales said, 'he went back on a ball, [Kazuo] Matsui hit -- and he dropped it. Should have been caught. Once you put leather on the ball, you should catch it.'" (no comma after "ball")

"In all, 21 games, 20 starts, and a job well done." (This is not a sentence.)

"They discussed the Florida lineup, and how to prevent the Marlins from defeating the Nationals for the seventh time in eight games this year." (There should be no comma after "lineup.")

"So were three of the four additional runs that scored that inning." (This is not a sentence.)

"Andrew Miller, the Florida Marlins' starting pitcher in their 11-0 win against the Washington Nationals last night, is 22 years old, still very much a prospect, despite a 6.52 ERA." (This is some really ugly run-on or something, but it is not a sentence.)

Posted by: The Grammar Lady | May 11, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Barry,
Thanks for the coverage, the writing, and the humor. The Post may have only one beat reporter (as many have lamented), but you did the job as if the paper had one-and-a-half, or more.

Have fun w/your next adventure!

Posted by: dcbatgirl | May 11, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Grammar Lady, how old are you?

Posted by: natty bo | May 11, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"Manny needs to seriously rethink his strategy where it comes to the use of his bullpen. Stop being an automaton when starters get to the seventh inning thinking you HAVE to pull him and go to the bullpen."

Lost in all this angst about Hill coming out after seven is that he was due up in the bottom of the seventh with Flores on second and one out. Manny chose to pinch hit for him with Nick to try to pad the slim two-run lead. Not a bad move, considering. A two run lead against the Fish is mighty slim, as was shown in the top of the eighth. If Nick gets a hit, scores Flores and the inning continues with the possibility for more runs, it's a whole new ballgame. If Hill bats, the best case scenario is he sacrifices Flores over and it's now two outs with FLop given the chance to get the run in. If he doesn't then Hill goes back out, but had he given up a hit or walked anybody it would have been Ayala in there anyway with men on. Bottom line, I don't fault Manny for PHing for Hill. Had Hill not been up the previous inning and been pulled anyway, then it's a different story.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 11, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Right, every manager in the league would have pinch hit in that situation to try to score the run.

Inexperienced fans...

Posted by: keith | May 11, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, that (Grammar Lady posting) wasn't me.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, that (Grammar Lady posting) wasn't me.

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, that (Grammar Lady posting) wasn't me (hope that this doesn't finally get through and post several times).

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, that (Grammar Lady posting) wasn't me (hope that this doesn't finally get through and post several times).

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 11, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

No age/sex/location checks here, please. Thank you.

*************
Uh, Grammar Lady, how old are you?

Posted by: natty bo | May 11, 2008 5:14 PM

Posted by: Waddaya think this is, AOL? | May 11, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Try only hitting submit once.

Posted by: cheez and crackers | May 11, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

My point was that most, if not all, of those commas are acceptable in 2008. Maybe not in 1908, and my Strunk and White's is at the office, so I'm not going to argue.

Posted by: nattybo | May 11, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I made a list of the pitchers the Nats have had since 2005 who you could say were net-plus additions to the team, who on the whole helped us win more than lose. This isn't a very scientific standard, but just for argument's sake.

Here's my list, ranked in a totally subjective out of my butt order of most to least valuable:

Starters:
Livan (in 05)
Patterson (in 05)
Loaiza (in 05)
Hill (last year and this)
Redding (last year and this)

Relievers:
Cordero (before this year)
Rauch (the whole time)
Ayala (whenever he's been healthy)
Rivera (since 06)
Majewski (in 05 and 06)
Carrasco (in 05)
Colome (in 07)

How many of these pitchers were acquired by Bowden? Answer: Carrasco, Colome, Redding, and Loaiza. That's it. Almost 4 years he's been running the team, and that's the most generous I can come up with. All the rest were inherited from the Expos--Rauch, Cordero, Ayala, Hill, Patterson, Livo, Rivera, Majewski...

Go back and look at the Cincy pitching in the 1990s, and you'll find more of the same. It's really hard not to conclude that this guy couldn't find a good pitcher at a Cy Young award winner reunion.

Posted by: a little data mining I thought people might be interested in... | May 11, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry, for everything -- not least for giving this self-styled pundit an all-too-frequent soapbox, and an audience who often deserved better (and got it from you).

It's just not gonna be the same without you. All the best, my friend.

Posted by: Hendo | May 11, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

What I would like to know is: Why on earth did F-Lop try to steal third with one out, leading by 2? He took the bat out of Zimmerman's hands and kept Boone in the hole who had already tagged Olson for a homer and a triple. What was up with THAT?????

Posted by: Anonymous | May 11, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry.

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | May 11, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Barry, thanks for all the great updates in journal and your excellent writing in the gamers and the notebooks. Your insights and inside information really make being a fan of the Nationals more fun. I've looked forward to reading Nats Journal every time I turn on the computer and it basically became my home page ever since spring training started. Thanks for doing such a great job, it seems that you've left us in very capable hands, but you will most assuredly be missed.

Posted by: Lou | May 11, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Hi, y'all. Been lurking since spring training; I figured I might as well say howdy, since I have a couple things to add to the discussion:

1. Barry sez he'd "like to find a way to figure out how many above-average plays [Zimmerman] makes over the course of a season." Answer: The Fielding Bible by John Dewan. The methodology for his +/- system is simple but takes lots of words to explain. Google "fielding bible" and you'll find it. It's good, and I hope it catches on. (Among other things, it demonstrates how good Belliard is, and how bad Jeter is. So, clearly, it works, right?)

2. " " wants to know why Lopez was stealing 3rd with 1 out. Since Bob Carpenter has been misleading impressionable young viewers on this all year, I wanted to point out that the rule is: never make the first or last out at third base. While it's preferable that you never make an out anywhere (except that then games would be even longer), if you're ever going to be aggressive going for third, one out is the time to do it.

There. I'm in. Hope I can keep up.

Posted by: Scooter | May 11, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

You had me until you said Clint.

http://dcsportsplus.blogspot.com

Posted by: Hoagie | May 11, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

My only problem with grammar lady is she doesn't know her grammar. Oh, the conjunction, that, is understood. Bet you don't think there should be commas.

Posted by: Jeeves | May 11, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Barry-

Thanks, pal. This would be easier to take if the team didn't start a new nosedive to see you off.

Chico, you have a golden opportunity here. If by pure luck the team wins 5 or 6 in a row, you will automatically get credit for shaking things up. It's not like it has to make sense.

I know you are still going to be around, Barry, but it will be hard to read about the Redskins. I only enjoy that when they fail or do something stupid. That is pretty often, but those may not be the most fun times for you to write about the action.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | May 11, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

The only one that might possibly be considered a stylistic choice is the first: "The Washington Nationals, in their five-man pitching rotation, have four sub-4.00 ERAs and one reliably sub-par interruption." And that's a really awkward sentence either way.

All the rest are wrong in whatever stylebook you use.

Posted by: The Grammar Lady | May 11, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to miss you man.

Posted by: Jason | May 11, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Barry: Thanks for everything (By-lines, web posts, the book, etc.) It's been a great run; good luck on the new assignments & don't be a stranger.

Posted by: BIM | May 11, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Barry,
Thanks for all the good times. We sure will miss around here. My only beef with you is the t-shirt idea you floated last summer, but on through which (see, grammar lady!) you failed to follow. Those would've been great.


Ending sentences with prepositions is something up with which I cannot put. That Winston was a pretty smart fellow.

Posted by: Atlanta | May 11, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

BTW: The next time we face the marlins, could somebody just "drill" Uggla on general principals? I don't care who does it, but this smurf needs to have it done.

Posted by: BIM | May 11, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Barry,
Thanks for 3 hardcore years of awesome reporting. I joined up during the Chez Post and Panera Era, and you single handedly got me addicted to the Nats.

My dad, who doesn't read the Journal, but is a huge fan of the dead tree edition, just learned that you were no longer covering the beat. He said "Oh No! That guy was great! And he had so many vowels in his last name!"

I couldn't have said it better.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | May 11, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Back from the game. I know there's no way w/Jesus on 2d to leave Hill in, but, Hill hit one to right pretty hard in his previous at bat and it looked like Ayala was throwing BP. Hermeda's a lefty, and Barry taught us to fear Ayala throwing to a lefty. Uggala's a righty, and a 2d baseman, and O, My can he scald a ball. Maybe with the Wookie for 8+9th, we win. So I get back from the part only to find that Bowden has optioned O'Connor back to Columbus after one outing, which makes no sense. And the reason I know it makes no sense is Chico's marvelous gamer, that goes back to his first call-up in 2006 from the Zephyrs to his razor thin 1.96 era at Columbus. Commas didn't bother me - the article was conversational and chock full of goodness. You give O'Connor more than one chance-you just do.

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

O'Connor's down, and Schroder's up.

Makes sense, esp. since it gets us back up to 5 former Reds on the active roster. Been down one since we lost Burger King. Once we get DY back we'll be back up to 1/4 of the roster Bowden retreads!

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | May 11, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

I am mostly a lurker, Barry, but thanks to you I talk real good about baseball at cocktail parties. (I'm also now a late-in-life convert to the sport and a fervent fan of the Nats.) I owe you, buddy.

Posted by: Baldino | May 11, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Grammar Lady, I think most of your points are debatable, but in any case I think you should lay off Chico after his first contribution--particularly since the gamer was so knowledgeable and informative. Some of what you criticized may be Post house style or the responsibility of the editor.

Barry, you are a terrific dead-trees writer, a witty, provocative, and insightful reporter, an honest and objective observer, and a generous blogger to have spent so much time with us. Hope you enjoy covering the Redskins.

Posted by: Section 109 | May 11, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

You give the guy more than one chance IF you have a plan. If you brought him up in the first place because you evaluated him and thought he was a guy who would have success. But Bowden doesn't have a plan. He's just throwing stuff out there to see what sticks. Its a strategy that occasionally uncovers a Redding but only by churning through a LOT of Simontacchis, Basciks, O'Connors and Hanrahans. And it never gets you a winner.

Posted by: @flynnie | May 11, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Here's what Manny said on Wednesday about O'Connor moving in to the rotation:

"It's not a tryout, one-game type of thing."

These guys don't know what they are doing. What a frickin' joke. But hey at least we have that awesome HD scoreboard.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 11, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie,
As hard as it was to watch the game yesterday, I agree that O'Connor deserves more than one chance. People here may remember that I've been rooting for Mike (different from asserting he's an ace), but I'm also thinking about Jason Bergman.

I've never pitched a ballgame myself (and throw like a girl), but it sounds like it is an adjusment for pitchers to move back and forth between starting and the bullpen. For a fair evaluation, doesn't it make sense to allow guys to adjust to changing roles? And why did O'Connor pitch in relief only a few days ago? In some ways it seems like he was set up in the same way Bergman was set up with his ill-fated relief appearance.

For whatever reason, we seem to be a lot more patient with poor performance by position players.

Posted by: dcbatgirl | May 11, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

You need to keep checking in, Barry, even if as a fan. Cory VanAllen and Jordan Zimmermann keep winning after their promotion to AA, and Zech Zinicola is saving games there. Adrian Alaniz is 4-0 for Potomac, and is also due for a promotion.

My point is that the misery we are enduring may ease some because of pitchers that are fighting to be called up or traded. If the purse strings loosen as well, then the conversation in your absence may turn more hopeful by the end of the season.

It would stink not to share that with you in some way.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | May 11, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I thought Harlan was a little heavy handed with the commas and clauses, but Grammar Lady wasn't me either. You know, for the record.

One does get attached doesn't one? This is worse than losing Schneider cuz Barry actually "talks" to us every day. So sad. But it has been so much fun. Thanks again, Barry.

Posted by: NatsNut | May 11, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Jimbow's next move will have us all saying:

Posted by: well, shut my mouth! | May 11, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for everything, Barry. I was new to baseball in '05, and your articles and chats, then the blog, taught me so much so fast.

I look forward to reading your Olympic stories, and the 'Skins coverage...we'll miss you, but I'm sure your wife will appreciate having you home a little more.

Posted by: nic | May 11, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

First, yet another thanks to Barry for everything. Great job and much appreciated! Good luck with your new assignment.

Having said that, I'm also looking forward to Chico-the-Writer. Today's gamer was really excellent -- insightful and very well written.

Finally, I strongly disagree with Grammar Lady's complaints. Proper grammar is unimportant. In fact, violating grammatical rules sometimes is GOOD. I love sentence fragments. They're how normal human beings talk. Use them. My friendly suggestion to Grammar Lady: close your eyes, take a deep breath, and start thinking outside the grammatical box. It's way more fun out here.

Posted by: Sec 224 | May 11, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

See you this week in OP@CY?

Posted by: Tito from Chesnut Hill | May 11, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

dcbatgirl - or to just get used to the spotlight and having to face a murderer's row like the Marlins. Barry said that one quality Jim Bowden lacked was patience. "The Plan" must seem like geologic time to him. He signs LoDuca and reasonably expects a .290 hitter, who then gets hurt. The middle of the order is in a wretched slump all at the same time. The Weapon and Lastings are worried about getting hit in the head by fly balls in front of everybody. Bowden did not think it would be this bad, and flames O'Connor after a truly wretched outing. Maybe he saw something that justifies his giving up on O'Connor, but Ray Knight said you give him 5 outings.

Posted by: flynnie | May 11, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Barry

I'll miss you here and in the $0.35 edition. Thanks for everything. The journal made the players and the team seem real.

Posted by: arlington | May 11, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

When the Nationals arrived in 2005, it had been a long, long time since I watched a baseball game with anything resembling a rooting interest (except whoever was playing against the Yankees in the World Series and for the Red Sox in 2004 just on principle).

Your insightful and light-hearted writing made my re-introduction to baseball as a fan, not just an observer, enjoyable and left me looking forward to the next day's story. Thank you.

As an aspiring author myself, I thank you for your example and your dedication. Well done and Godspeed!

May you have many Redskins' victories to report and may you skewer Snyder often with the snarkiness of your pen.

Mr. Harlan -- welcome aboard! Love your old-time writer's name. Hearkens us back to the 1920s and 30s!! Hey, weren't the Washington Nationals good back then?? I look forward to reading your work.

Posted by: Steve Walker | May 11, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

barry, not much i can say that hasn't been said over and over and over again here. thanks for the memories, your stories have been and will be a part of them. your blog entries have blended snark with inside information and what i hope was a genuine friendship (as much as you can in this type of format). as you can see, we the readers/contributors her at NJ feel that way. much luck to you as a beat writer for the skins and, hopefully, a regular column in your future (for you to truly hone that "snark").

welcome, chico. you're getting the keys to the NJ tomorrow, so watch the brakes, they're a little touchy. and the gas pedal occasionally sticks... and sometimes the clutch grinds a bit... but it's a pretty good vehicle nonetheless.

Posted by: 231 | May 11, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

"Right, every manager in the league would have pinch hit in that situation to try to score the run.

Inexperienced fans..."

No, of course every manager wouldn't have done that. But some or many of them might have, depending on the situation with their own teams and their opponents.

Clueless pseudo-know it all blog posters....

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 11, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Barry. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be a Nats fan if it weren't for you. You're an excellent writer.

Posted by: Mick | May 11, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Farewell Barry! Thank you for all you did but especially for making this blog a serious place to talk about Nationals baseball. As someone who first fell in love with the Senators but who has been away from DC since baseball retuned, your stories and blogs have allowed me to feel like the Nats are my home team (with all the pain and suffering that currently entails). I confess that I was always particularly fond of your Spring Training reporting - probably because of the solace it afforded me during the three-year long winter that I spent in Iowa. You will be missed and I hold-out hope that you will one day return to cover the only true game in town.

Posted by: lowcountry | May 11, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Barry, one of the highlights for me has been being able to meet you and share space and live conversation without feeling scowled upon for being a lowly internet dweller. Thank you for that. You're the one who told me people come and go in this biz and it's just part of the deal, so I'll try not to get too bummed about losing you too! Take care and good luck on your new beat! Chico seems to be doing well so far! (I have outlasted!! Mwahahaha! j/k)

Posted by: misschatter | May 11, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

"Bowden broke me in as a baseball beat writer"
Barry, we now know why you had to go.
You had options!
Will be reading your musings in the fish rap.

Posted by: Tom | May 11, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Barry,

Long before I could pronounce your last name, I used your gamers to start doing something that I hadn't done for years -- follow baseball. And follow a hometown team that was really local. Since I had never developed an adult understanding of baseball (I'm ashamed to admit that as a kid I thought the DH was way awesome cuz they hit home runs, yay! - I'm sure Bud feels the same way) it was your gamers that broke me in to understanding the game from a higher perspective.

Then it was this community you created here that gave me the opportunity to learn from Hendo, Natscan, and all the early sages as well as natsfan1a, JennX, and NatsNut, the unequaled baseball fans. Stories, posts, chats, podcasts, everything you did helped me develop a hobby that gives me a break from the somewhat bleak political and international world I usually have to inhabit. It's a little thing, but it's something I treasure, thanks.

But despite all this, you've failed me and every fan on this blog.

After all, you never found out why Screech doesn't take off his hat during the National Anthem.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 11, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

wow, i just saw this line for poor jonathan broxton of the dodgers.

1/3 ip, 6 runs, a 162.0 ERA for that game. he gave up 5 straight singles to start.

all this in support of a game that kuroda had taken a no-hitter into the 7th inning, and was removed after a hit and a walk, then watched the bullpen give up 8 runs in the 7th and 8th against houston.

ugh.

Posted by: 231 | May 11, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Barry, I know I'm not, but I feel like I'm losing a member of the family today. I'm sad that you'll not be our main link with the team any longer. Thanks for coming out of the press box in Viera 2 springs ago to autograph the book, which I throughly enjoyed. Also, thanks for attending that tailgate at the RFK finale last year. It meant a lot to us littles that you bothered to show up. That alone says a lot about you, and just another reason you'll be missed a hell of a lot. Chico has some awfully big shoes to fill. GO NATS...GET HOT...please

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | May 11, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Bowden is panicking. Check out what Ladson has JimBo saying now: tp://tinyurl.com/3et7jw

Well, so much for "The Plan" and steady development. Good ole JimBo is trying to catch lightning in a bottle and get lucky with guys who he wanted to develop in the minors. It's a shame the guy doesn't have more patience and confidence. I mean, I can understand why he wouldn't have confidence in his personal life given all of the embarrassing things that have happened to him, but it's too bad that it carries over to infecting his professional judgment and this constant flip-flopping on players. This is no way to let players prove themselves, or to develop them.

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 11, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Of course, that link should be

http://tinyurl.com/3et7jw

Posted by: Lerners ARE Cheap | May 11, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

You were real good, kid...

Posted by: Fisch Fry | May 11, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

You were real good, kid...

Posted by: Fisch Fry | May 11, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Dude, Barry's swan song, it really can wait.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | May 11, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

"wow, i just saw this line for poor jonathan broxton of the dodgers."

Well, the real fault there lies not with Broxton, but with his manager. What's his name, Joe Torre or something like that? Real obscure guy. Sure not qualified to be a major league manager, because no major league manager would ever pull his starter in the eighth inning when he's been pitching well. I know that for sure, because some pinhead told me so on the Internet today. Before that, I was just an inexperienced fan.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 11, 2008 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Torre was criticized throughout his tenure in NY for poor handling of the pitching staff and when he brought guys in, so that's a real dumb statement you're making (who are you even arguing with?) as if you can just wave a "Joe Torre" flag and that proves something.

Dude, I'm sorry that your favorite Nats blog closed its doors and now you have to post here. But maybe you can try not to be so nasty as a newcomer here, no?

Posted by: @ABM | May 11, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

i agree that torre left him hanging, which is why i called him "poor" broxton. i think his era went from right around 2 to right around 5.5 in that one outing.

Posted by: 231 | May 11, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse


some douche said:
No, of course every manager wouldn't have done that. But some or many of them might have, depending on the situation with their own teams and their opponents.

Clueless pseudo-know it all blog posters....

Well, I think the assumption is that, whoever the manager is, he is managing the Nats against the Marlins -- a team that can't score against a team that can score against them at will...

Posted by: stupid self-referential handle | May 11, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

great gamer by chico (the writer, not the pitcher).

Posted by: natsinthevalley | May 11, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Right. So I get told rather rudely that no other manager would EVER do something that I had suggested might be a reasonable explanation for what Manny did today, and then another manager who will likely end up in the Hall of Fame turns around and does THE EXACT SAME THING today. (And don't jump up with that "Torre was criticized" line to label me as dumb, because EVERY manager, good or bad, gets criticized.) So, as Steve Martin used to say, excuuuuse me for getting a little snarky in my response. But pardon me for not being too sorry for doing something that gets me called nasty at the same time I'm being called dumb.

So, if newcomers aren't allowed to be nasty here, how much time do I have to put in before it's okay for me to be nasty?

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | May 11, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Barry:

Very sad to see this day arrive, when you say farewell. I'll miss the reporting, down-to-earth comments, all the hard work, and the wonderful snark. I'll look forward to your reporting from Beijing and then about the Redskins. Many thanks and all the best!

Posted by: samantha7 | May 11, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

at the game today...had a clear view of barry and chico in the press box. i think they missed the planet NJ thank you on the giant screen, but i caught it, it was an amazing gesture from whoever got it done. you will be missed

Posted by: love | May 12, 2008 12:43 AM | Report abuse

I think we can all agree that your last post is a walk off home run.

Posted by: jonhab33 | May 12, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

it won't be the same without you, barry. best of luck in all you do.

Posted by: gretchen | May 12, 2008 1:46 AM | Report abuse

well said jonhab33

Posted by: love | May 12, 2008 2:54 AM | Report abuse

So my friend Amy said she's a little uncomfortable with JimBo's increased meddling recently.

I sorta get what she means, but where does the GM's line usually lie? Is it his choice and his alone to send O'Connor down? Because we all know if it's Manny, he's staying up for another try.

Is this a good or bad thing that he's showing some impatience?

Posted by: NatsNut | May 12, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

So my friend Amy said she's a little uncomfortable with JimBo's increased meddling recently.

I sorta get what she means, but where does the GM's line usually lie? Is it his choice and his alone to send O'Connor down? Because we all know if it's Manny, he's staying up for another try.

Is this a good or bad thing that he's showing some impatience?

Posted by: NatsNut | May 12, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Barry, You are way off base to condemn the Mebourne/Viera area as a "Hellhole". Actually, Melbourne is a very nice city and the sun actually shines down here. You, my friend, may be living in the real Hellhole, where it never stops raining and the sun never shines, except when there is a drought.

Posted by: Melbourne Mel | May 12, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

good luck Barry. I'll miss the snark and I have missed the rather plaintive calls for more readers on the Natl Journal. I hope we at least succeeding in beating Goff, especially since DCU is bad right now.

Posted by: hoo | May 12, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

New post (and I'm only hitting submit once this time, no matter what ;))

Posted by: natsfan1a | May 12, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Along with everyone else, I will miss you Barry. The Skins (who I root for IN SEASON!!) are over reported, so good luck with that.

Although I was at the 11-0 game, I too felt that Conner would be given 4-6 starts. But Ayala's peformance on Sunday may have persuaded management that a Bull Pen arm was needed, hence Connor for Schroder. We still need a fifth starter.

Posted by: Sec 204 Row K Seat 11 | May 12, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Svrluga sucks.

I read his accounts of the games and have no earthly idea what happened, how the runs scored, in what inning, who was pitching, etc. I have to read the AP story to get some sense of how the game progressed.

Further, no Post writer should treat his regular Washington Post chat as a platform for selling his wares, yet ole Barry never missed a chance to plug his book on baseball's return to DC.

The guy is a shameless opportunist and a hack who won't be missed.

Posted by: craving straightforward journalism | May 12, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Thank you so much, Barry. Pretty good stuff for a Blue Devil. ;-D

Posted by: nats fan in annandale | May 12, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Barry, I've enjoyed your work for years.

Posted by: mrlogical | May 12, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Bye for now, Barry. I have really enjoyed your tenure here.

I remember seeing a field full of Nationals and wondering how long it would take until I became familiar with each of them as individual players. Your work has played the biggest role in helping that come about.

In the winter, when the fever was starting to kick in you would scour Florida for bits of information that we would devour. And with snark and Panera and the same stuff in your iPod as some of us have, we realized you were a human out there doing it. Well, some of us have. And we realized you have pretty thick skin, too.

We really appreciate that you have been a conduit to get information in both directions, and in that way you've helped us play an important role in this team. You've also saved us from ourselves (while letting us do what fans do). You've softened our pointy questions and put them to the folks whose heads we've called for and relayed the (sometimes surprising) responses.

You've travelled incessantly, you've posted on your day off, you've thought about something interesting to say or see that isn't obvious. You've dug up statistics that show us things we wouldn't know. You've written as much "Didn't Make the Paper" material here as stuff that has appeared in print. You've adapted easily to a new medium at a time when your field is in a state of flux.

Thanks for all of this. Thanks.

Posted by: i hate walks | May 14, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

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